The Associated Press declared the former vice-president the winner with 74 per cent of the vote with just a few precincts reporting.
The primary had been scheduled for March 17, but was postponed due to concerns about safety and eventually conducted only by mail. The state has 153 delegates, roughly 4 per cent of the pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention. The postponement of many primaries – and New York state’s outright cancellation – means that the total number of delegates could be different by the time of the convention.
After Bernie Sanders dropped out earlier this month, Biden is left with no significant challenger remaining for his party’s nomination at the convention, which was also pushed back and is now scheduled for late August in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Kansas Democratic Party says turnout for its mail-in May 2 presidential primary has more than tripled compared with the state’s 2016 caucus.
Kansas Democratic Party Chair Vicki Hiatt said the party has already processed over 138,400 ballots – up 352 per cent from the 2016 caucus totals. Kansas dropped the caucus format last year. This year’s surge occurred even though there is no contest in the primary: Joe Biden became the party’s presumptive nominee after Bernie Sanders’ exit from the race earlier this month.
“It is very exciting to see such a significant increase in voter turnout for the 2020 presidential primary and it is a testament to the Democratic enthusiasm building among Kansas voters for the last three years,” Hiatt said in a statement.
Sixteen states and one territory have postponed votes or moved to mail-only ballots in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and New York has cancelled its primary altogether.
Hiatt said Kansas’s success should guide the discussion over whether to move away from in-person voting in the November election. “Amidst a nationwide debate over vote-by-mail, Kansas’s latest turnout results make us the most recent state to prove vote-by-mail is a safe, secure and accessible way to run an election during a global health crisis,” Hiatt said.
Two-thirds of Americans believe the November presidential election will be disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey from the Pew Research Centre released Tuesday.
Some 67 per cent of respondents, including 80 per cent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and half of Republicans and Republican leaners, said it was likely the coronavirus outbreak would significantly disrupt people’s ability to vote. Only 7 per cent said it was not at all likely that Covid-19 would “significantly” disrupt the election.
Still, most Americans are confident that the election will be conducted fairly and accurately, though only 14 per cent are “very confident” that it will be.
The survey also showed strong support for voting by mail, with 70 per cent in favour of allowing any voter to cast a ballot by mail and 52 per cent in favour of conducting all elections by mail.